Iraq unrest could put Bozeman leadership program on hold


BOZEMAN, Mont. - The turmoil and unrest in Iraq have folks across the world watching and waiting to see what will happen next. Here in Montana, for some, the conflict is hitting close to home.

We found on Friday one local nonprofit program called WorldMontana brings in more than a dozen high school students from Iraq -- 13, specifically, this year, as part of a leadership program.

The program has been around since 2008, and it could be a first for the organization if the students are not able to leave Iraq. Bottom line, it would put the program on hold.

Friday afternoon we spoke to Megan McGlothlen, the executive director of WorldMontana. She works with the students coming from Iraq for the International Visitor Leadership Program. She tells us students are able to learn from leaders at the U.S. Capitol as well as from community leaders in cities like Bozeman.

While McGlothlen and her team are in a holding pattern, she says its not just the future that has her concerned. Over the past 6 years an estimated 100 students have come from Iraq.

"We've heard from several of them and there is a couple we haven't heard from yet, but that doesn't mean anything is wrong or they are not OK, so we will give them a few more days before we really start to worry," said McGlothlen.

McGlothlen says it is hard not to worry when these students become part of your community, and family.

"It is amazing when you are dealing with high school students and young leaders, people that want to be engaged and in a community and learn about you, and share about their culture, how quickly they just wedge their way into your heart," said McGlothlen.

For now the WorldMontana team in Bozeman is on hold, watching and waiting to see how the situation in Iraq unfolds.